By Rob Siebert
Leon White, known to fans as Vader, passes away at the age of 63. Very sad to hear of Vader’s passing this week after a battle with pneumonia.
I started following wrestling on a consistent basis in the summer of 1996, when the big man was feuding with Shawn Michaels for the WWF Championship. So many of my early fandom memories involve Vader.
But as many longtime fans know, the Vader we saw on WWF television was but a fraction of what Big Van Vader had been in Japan and WCW. This guy’s offense was so tough, so stiff, and so brutal, he truly earned his reputation as a monster. Watch some of the work he did with Cactus Jack in WCW. There’s also a famous match he had with Stan Hansen in Japan where his eye literally popped out of its socket. For better or worse, it was the stuff of legends.
White was fairly open about his recent health issues. In late 2016, he famously tweeted that a doctor had told him he had roughly two years left to live due to congestive heart failure. Given how much press that generated, it’s frustrating that WWE didn’t opt to put him in the Hall of Fame. Still, we can take some solace in the fact that he at least got to be up on that stage to induct Stan Hansen. I can only assume he’ll be inducted posthumously at some point.
Here’s to you, big man. Thanks for the memories.
Big Cass abruptly fired from WWE before Tuesday’s Smackdown. Yikes. We’d heard he had heat with management. But wow…
Supposedly it was a variety of things. Going against Vince McMahon’s direction in a segment a few weeks back, an incident on a tour bus, being intoxicated in public on a European tour. This is totally a guess on my part, but it sounds like the pressures of a singles push were getting to him. That, and maybe some maturity issues.
If Cass wants to continue wrestling, I have no doubt he can find stardom somewhere else. At the very least, he can reunite with Enzo and make some money on the indies. Whether he wants to be associated with Enzo and all that drama is another story.
Kurt Angle “suspends” Ronda Rousey from Raw for 30 days. Not really sure where they’re going with this. Supposedly, Ronda will still be making house show appearances. I assume that’s why they’re saying “suspended from Raw” as opposed to just suspended. Maybe they do a bunch of angles where she runs in from the crowd to try and get Alexa Bliss?
Rusev earns WWE Championship Match with AJ Styles at Extreme Rules. I can’t say I expected this. I won’t complain, though. Glad to see they’re listening to the people. Now the question is, do they buck their track record thus far, and actually let AJ Styles, their WWE Champion, main event a pay per view?
The answer, of course, is no. The multi-man match to decide Brock’s next opponent will go on last at Extreme Rules. But hey, it’s fun to think about, right?
Email Rob at PrimaryIgnition@yahoo.com, or follow Primary Ignition on Twitter.